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Employers Punishing Women for Being Too Intelligent

Wait, are women seriously being punished for being too intelligent?

Audrey Bowers

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InsideHigherEd.com reports that a new study finds that good grades may not help women become successful after college. It appears that the grades of male graduates does not seem to matter as much, while female graduates may actually be punished for excelling in their studies. This study is a result of female students outperforming male students in both high school and college.

Author Natasha Quadlin did an “audit study” of 2,106 applications for various jobs that looked at the applicants’ grades, gender and undergraduate major. Her research will be available in the April issue of “The American Sociological Review.” A key finding of this study was that female job applicants were benefited more by only “moderate” academic achievement rather than higher levels. Comparing equally intelligent males and females, men were called to discuss matters further twice as much as women with about the same grades. In STEM, the odds are stacked up even higher against women, with men being favored at a ratio of 3 to 1.

In a related study, it has been found that male and female candidates are evaluated differently by employers. Males are valued for their competence and commitment, while women are valued on “perceived likeability.” Since there are stereotypes held about intelligent women, it may make sense that women who only have moderate academic success are receiving more positive job market attention. Real gender equality would require judging all applicants in ways that can be measured consistently.

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Audrey Bowers is a creative writing major at Ball State University. She enjoys writing for CMN as well as for her school's newspaper and other publications. You'll probably find her drinking iced coffee and retweeting pictures of corgis.

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